With hooves, happiness and lots of thank yous, Kingston Police announced Wednesday that the North American Police Equestrian Championships raised $20,000 for the local chapter of the United Way.
Also known as NAPEC, the championships hosted 66 competitors: 18 from Canada and the rest from the United States. With multiple demonstrations and competitions, the event showcased two performances from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Musical Ride. NAPEC, and multiple other fundraising events, was hosted in honour of Kingston Police’s 175th anniversary.
Kingston Police Chief Gilles Larochelle told those assembled on Thursday the goal of the 175th anniversary year was to instil pride and to give back to the community. In fact, the $20,000 is only a small portion of the more than $200,540 raised by Kingston Police in 2016 alone.
The organization raised the cash through NAPEC and three other events, including: the 55th International Police Hockey Tournament, which raised $43,540 for the Brent Griffith Children’s Educational fund, Rachael Hill Atypical Hemolytic Syndrome Fund and the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston; the Kingston Police 175th Gala, which raised $107,000 for Youth Diversion; and the Great Lakes Police Motorcycle Training Seminar and Competition, which raised $30,000 for Special Olympics.
During the cheque presentation, Heather Hayhow, community director of the 2016 United Way campaign, could not say “thank you” enough.
“The fact [NAPEC] raised $20,000, that is unbelievable and I want you to know the difference that that is going to make right here in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington,” Hayhow said, adding that every penny will be staying local.
“That $20,000 is going to make sure no child has to go to school and try to learn while hungry, it’s going to make sure youth in our community know that they have somewhere to turn if going home is not a safe option, and it’s going to make sure those most vulnerable in our community have somewhere to turn if they need a warm meal or additional support.”
City of Kingston’s chief financial officer and city treasurer Desiree Kennedy was at the announcement as government chair on the United Way campaign cabinet. She was able to attend NAPEC on the Sunday and said it was the place to be.
“This event put Kingston on the map when you host a North American event,” Kennedy said. “It is quite exciting and it’s great to be able to showcase our city. It was certainly an event that has done that.”
An accountant by trade, Kennedy joked she had to come with some more numbers. She said that in the past 10 years, Kingston Police have contributed more than $76,000 to the United Way.
“So, thank you very much,” Kennedy said. “Now we can add that $20,000, and it’s just incredible support that is certainly going to help in terms of the 75,000 people that benefit from the United Way.”